Sep 30, 2020 3:45:24 AM Benjamin Pure

Medical Practice Management: 13 Money-saving Strategies to Mitigate the Financial Impact of COVID-19

Industrial surveys and reports alert that medical professionals are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 economic impact. The virus has hit doctor’s practices and hospitals hard, with 97% of medical practitioners reporting sharp profit declines as a result of the pandemic.

Following a massive decrease in patient volumes, nearly half of healthcare facilities in the USA were forced to lay off or furlough workers and defer salaries. 

On average, practices report a 55% decrease in revenue and a 60% decrease in patient volume since the beginning of the pandemic
[Source: MGMA]

At times of economic distress, medical practices and doctor’s offices are looking for ways to manage short - and long-term financial burdens. We have some suggestions to support them in this challenge.

Cost-Cutting Ideas to Reduce Wasteful Spending

From simple day-to-day savings to making use of technology, this short guide has advice for any healthcare business looking to lower spendings and alleviate the economic damage of COVID-19.

1. Reduce paper consumption

Mailings, flyers, posters — printing them may seem inexpensive, but the costs can swiftly add up. Consider switching to phone, emailing, patient portals, and other interactive means of communication, and reexamine the indispensability of short-lived printed materials. If leaflets and brochures end up in the trash a few minutes after they were collected, perhaps they aren’t all that necessary?

2. Improve your online activity

Help your patients stay in the loop by keeping your website updated with opening hours, pricing, range of services, and other essential information. With all those facts out there, patients will be less likely to ask you those questions in person, allowing you to streamline support services and reduce admin expenses.

3. Buy in bulk

It is a useful practice to make a list of products that are used daily in your office and commit yourself to order them in large quantities. Remember to keep it reasonable, bulk-buy only durable products (office supplies, paper towels, soap), and make sure you have the room to store your stock.

4. Cooperate with other physician offices

You’re not alone in your pursuit of savings, especially in the face of corona’s adverse economic impact.
A partnership may open up a world of new possibilities to work together toward a more profitable practice, from the increased size of the patient base, through tax exemptions, to enhanced admin capabilities.

5. Share your equipment

Another perk of group practices is the ability to make use of shared medical equipment. Collaborating with other medical providers allows you an opportunity to rent expensive equipment that you couldn’t afford before. This way, you may reduce redundant purchases and decrease rental expenses, at the same time extending your offer with high quality value-added medical services.

6. Reevaluate short-shelf life medicine usage

Keep an eye on the expiry dates and find out which drugs are usually thrown away unused. Reach out to local practices and see if it would be possible to exchange those medicines for some you will actually need.

7. Look for bargains

Some suppliers may offer a discount with long-term contracts, upfront payment, or bulk orders. Remember that it’s easier to negotiate a lower price if you partner with other practices. Also, network members are often eligible for discounts on insurance and education services.

8. Launch online consultations

Coronavirus has brought telemedicine into the mainstream. As all of us are getting used to the new normal, patients are embracing virtual consultations as a safe alternative for on-site visits. Extending your services online will provide you with an opportunity to make up for the lost profits and unlock new revenue streams. Start by evaluating the available HIPAA compliant technology platforms.

88% of Americans aged 40 and older would feel comfortable using a video service for a virtual medical consultation
[Source: AP NORC]

9. Centralize your orders

If your business operates in several locations, try consolidating the supply chain by ordering from one vendor. This may save you both money (by avoiding minimum spend for free shipping or negotiating better terms), and hassle (you only need to place one order, and it’s harder to get confused).

10. Take advantage of the second-hand market

Other healthcare facilities may be willing to sell their rarely used, mint-condition equipment at a discounted price. Take advantage of this fact, by looking for refurbished and open-box office devices, such as computers, printers, and copiers. Also, put anything you don’t use on sale to earn and save on maintenance.

11. Invest in energy-saving solutions

Between motion-sense switches, intelligent thermostats, programmable light bulbs, and other appliances, smart tech can help you save on heating, cooling, and lighting costs. There’s plenty to choose from, and with increasingly more producers turning out their own devices, you don’t have to break the bank to go smart and save on facility management.

12. Outsource where you can

Some of the duties performed by your staff can easily be handed over to a third-party company. One good example is a live medical answering service that can take professional, round-the-clock care of incoming calls. The service will increase the number of patients who can reach you, at the same time taking a huge workload off your employees’ shoulders.

13. Make use of telehealth technology

Audiovisual healthcare solutions can make many of your services available to patients located far away from your practice. Whether you’re a single physician or the head of an intensive care unit, there are dedicated telehealth systems that will increase the quality and help optimize spendings on bed and supply capacity at your facility.